Star Trek Canon Database

Displaying 1 to 5 of 5 records.

Database started: 1999-07-27
Page generated: 2017-12-14

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TNG Season 2, Ep# 37: "Contagion"

PICARD: Donald, we'll get our teams to work. I'm sure neither of us feels too comfortable sitting around the Neutral Zone.

VARLEY: I know what you're thinking, what the hell am I doing here? Well, I had heard rumors about a couple of archaeological digs that started making the Iconians sound a lot less like legend. I did a little investigating, and I located their homeworld.

PICARD: In the Neutral Zone.

VARLEY: In the Neutral Zone.

PICARD: Don, this was quite a risk to run just to satisfy an archaeological curiosity.

VARLEY: No, the risk would be in allowing the Romulans to locate Iconia.

Command Structure: Captain Donald Varley of the USS Yamato unilaterally decided to violate the treaty and take his warship into the Neutral Zone, with his only justification being his belief that an important archaeological find is to be located there.

Shouldn't such a risk be authorized by his superiors first? One would think they would have more checks and balances, to keep starship captains from risking war so easily.

TNG Season 2, Ep# 37: "Contagion"

PICARD VO: Captain's log, supplemental. The Yamato's entire crew and their families, more than a thousand people, have been lost.

Culture: not only did Captain Varley unilaterally commit an act of war against the Romulan Empire by taking a warship into the Neutral Zone, but he took the saucer section with him!

TNG Season 2, Ep# 37: "Contagion"

GEORDI: Sensor recordings reveal that what we witnessed was an uncontrolled and catastrophic matter/antimatter mix. The magnetic seals between the chambers collapsed --

PICARD: That's not possible.

GEORDI: Yes, sir, it is, but a highly improbable series of events has to take place before such an occurrence can result.

PICARD: Explain.

GEORDI: In the event of a breach of seal integrity there is an emergency release system which dumps the antimatter.

DATA: Apparently such a dump began, was then halted, and the containment seals were dropped. There was still sufficient antimatter present to lead to the result we observed.

...

GEORDI: Sir, the Enterprise computer system is a lot like our bodies with a voluntary and involuntary system. Probably ninety percent of what happens on this ship is done automatically, completely beyond our control. We're sitting on a bomb that could go any second -- or never.

Design: every safety system on the ship is active, and under centralized computer control, hence the destruction of the Yamato at the hands of a computer virus. This is horrible engineering: with such massive centralization and lack of redundancy, diversity, and isolation of critical safety systems, a Federation starship is an accident waiting to happen.

Paul Ward notes that their computer skills are clearly in serious doubt. Despite full knowledge that they were dealing with a computer virus, they were unable to compensate, limit the infection, or even track what it was doing!

Worse yet, it's quite clear that their main computer's operating system has no safeguards whatsoever against a process running rampant through main memory. This is horrible design; there are thousands of programmers working throughout the world today (not at Microsoft, mind you) who use an array of tricks designed to keep user-space processes from gaining access to protected areas of memory. The NSA even went so far as to give the public a boost in this area by releasing SELinux, an ultra-secure version of Linux designed to boost acceptance of secure programming and operating system design techniques. Apparently, all records of these methods were lost by the time of TNG.

TNG Season 2, Ep# 37: "Contagion"

(Picard views Varney's logs):

VARLEY: My first officer is questioning the wisdom of my order to violate the Neutral Zone, but I am convinced I have taken the only proper course. Should this advanced technology fall into the hands of the Romulans, we might as well dock our ships and defend ourselves with sticks.

Misc: the Iconians' only noteworthy technology (apart from a really nasty computer virus) is their transportation system. Captain Varley understands what many Trekkies do not: the ability to go where you wish, without possibility of interception en route, is the key to victory. Hence, the importance of propulsion systems.

TNG Season 2, Ep# 37: "Contagion"

PICARD: Where's that interference originating?

GEORDI: From the source, sir. Cause ... unknown.

PICARD: Lock onto the landing party. Have the Transporter Room prepare to beam them up.

GEORDI: We can't distinguish them as long as they're inside that structure.

Transporters: they cannot beam through the Iconian structure, even though it was weak enough to be destroyed by the backwash from the probe rocket.

This entry was originally (mistakenly) filed under episode #38: "Royale". Thanks to WRobert525 for noticing the mistake!

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